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Fluctuating game at the gas pumps

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The never ending saga of the fluctuating gas prices continues.

Unleaded gas this morning at a variety of pumps was right around $3.11 per gallon.

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Tomorrow it could be back up again to $3.35. At least that's according to those supposedly in the know who are saying that as 2012 approaches, we may see retail prices climb slightly higher again based this time on upbeat holiday spending, which also led to higher gasoline prices last year as Christmas approached.

The thread of good news for the consumer is that average retail gasoline prices in the area moved minutely the past week, with the price of regular unleaded gasoline now averaging about $3.08 a gallon.

This compares with the national average that has fallen 0.7 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.28 per gallon, according to gasoline price website FargoGasPrices.com.

Including the change in gas prices during the past week, prices are 22.5 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 18.9 cents per gallon lower than a month ago.

On a national scale, the average has decreased 15.0 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 32.2 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

Whether these statistics are something we should all be happy about is highly debatable. Even though prices are down from what they were a few weeks ago, costs are still up considerably over a year ago.

Now anything under the $3.50 range seems like a good deal, when last year prices in the upper $2 range were welcome figures.

My how quickly we forget and how quickly we accept going with the market flow.

We are indeed creatures of habit and fairly accepting of ever-changing gas prices, not because we want to be but because it is a commodity we all need and really can't do without.

As stated earlier, experts are saying that even though the national average remains stable close to what we saw last week, don't look for that to continue. With two major travel holidays right around the corner many motorists will find it necessary to make several stops at the pump in their journey to get to grandma's house. In doing so, don't be surprised to find higher prices.

After all, it is the holidays - we wouldn't expect it to play out any other way.

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